1) Writing about lesson plans/resources is not fun for me. Maybe this makes me a bad teacher? Oops.
2) I often come up with my lesson plans the week (and sometimes even the morning) that I'm doing them. Again, maybe this makes me a bad teacher. But because of the disparities in ability level of the population that I teach and the fact that I have close to forty 8th graders in my classes, it's hard for me to plan ahead when I don't know until I teach something whether or not they will be able to master it one day or whether it'll take a week.
3) My lesson plans are very rarely phenomenal.
4) There's just way too many other things I'd write about, like students long-jumping over piles of barf or the bizarre things I catch myself saying out loud on a daily basis.
But once in a blue moon, there's something we do in class that makes me want to bust through the doors of the teachers' lounge, saloon-style, and shout at the top of my lungs, "ALL OF YOU MUST DO THIS!!!"
Thursday was one of those days.
We had some leftover time on Thursday, and earlier in the week I had discovered some class library books that had been ruined in my move across campus this summer. Some had been torn in half, others had a huge chunk of the middle missing. Obviously, I couldn't throw them away (that's breaking one of the 10 Commandments of Reading), so I decided to tear out all the pages and assign my students some blackout poetry.
The idea comes from this website, Newspaper Blackout, recommended to me by a Love, Teach reader. Basically this guy takes a permanent marker and redacts newspaper articles to create poetry. So we did, too! I showed my students from examples, talked them through how to not get Sharpie on their desks/heads/faces/tongues, and let them loose with the pages I'd torn out.
IT WAS THE COOLEST. Take a gander.
Doesn't this remind you of that famous line in Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater? No? Just me? Oh, well. Still cool.
"She took a deep breath and felt all the love whisper to her." Excuse me while I cry ALL THE TEARS
"Less than pleased is all you are."
This is just a handful of the amazing stuff my kids made. It is really cool to see what they turn out, and you'll find yourself in really neat conversations with students about their work. Do it this week, ELA teachers! You'll be surprazed (that's my portmanteau for "surprised" and "amazed." You're welcome.)